In the midst of parliamentary elections, an Iranian Imam condemned President Trump as the source of the coronavirus.
To date, Iran has 29 reported cases of coronavirus and six deaths. Seven of the cases were reported in the city of Qom, a site that is considered the second holiest Shia site in Iran. A major pilgrimage site, most of the cases of coronavirus have been linked to the city.
“It’s possible that it exists in all cities in Iran,” health ministry official Minou Mohrez said, according to the state-run news, IRNA.
It should be noted that the virus originated in China, a close ally of Iran. More than 75,000 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in China and at least 2,200 people have died.
Radio Farda, a Persian language radio headquartered in Prague, reported on Saturday that Hojjat ol-Eslam Seyyed Mohammad Saeedi, the Friday Prayer Imam and Custodian of the Shrine of Masoumeh, blamed the coronavirus outbreak on Trump, claiming he targeted the city because Qom is a “shelter for the Shiites of the world, the center of religious seminaries and the city where Shiite sources of emulation live”.
“The enemy wants to instill fear in people’s hearts, make Qom look like an unsafe city and to take revenge for all its defeats,” Saeedi said. “Trump will die frustrated in his wish to see Qom defeated.”
According to Saeedi, by targeting Qom Trump is fulfilling his promise made in a tweet on January 4 of hitting Iranian cultural sites if Iranians took revenge for the U.S. killing of Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani.
….targeted 52 Iranian sites (representing the 52 American hostages taken by Iran many years ago), some at a very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture, and those targets, and Iran itself, WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD. The USA wants no more threats!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 4, 2020
Schools, universities and seminaries in Qom will be closed on Sunday and Monday in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus, the government crisis management headquarters for Qom province announced on Saturday, according to the official IRNA news agency.
Iranians headed to the polls on Friday to vote for more than 7,000 candidates for Iran’s 290-seat parliament.